On 25th November 2019, we hosted The Post-Plastics Revolution: Meet the innovators to explore the developments that are forging a future beyond single-use plastics by bringing together innovators and industry leaders to discuss how progress in the science of post-plastics is implemented in the real world.

The event commenced with four thought-provoking talks from Niall Dunne, CEO Polymateria; John Williams, Technical Director, Aquapak; Rodrigo Gonzalez, Co-founder and Co-CEO, Notpla; and Daphna Nissenbaum, CEO and Co-Founder, TIPA.

A circular approach to biotransformation

Niall Dunne, CEO of Polymateria, outlined the philosophy of ‘Good cycling’, or working with non-toxic materials that are safe to return to nature. Technological developments can help successfully biodegrade the most highly littered forms of plastic without creating micro plastic or harming the natural environment, but controlling the point at which these technologies are triggered is crucial, as is empowering consumers to understand new innovations and disruptive approaches.

Thinking creatively about end-of-life plastics solutions

John Williams, Technical Director of Aquapak, emphasised the importance of considering the best use of any material in any given application. There are places and cases where plastic works well, but the problems arise from fast-moving consumerism and a need for convenience. Thinking outside the box about new approaches and combinations of materials, and using technology to develop credible end-of-life solutions, are key.

Using inspiration from nature to replace plastic packaging

Daphna Nissenbaum, CEO and Co-Founder of TIPA, spoke of the challenges of replacing flexible packaging, and her experiences designing and creating packaging that looks, feels and behaves like plastic but which also mimics organic decomposition products found in nature. Daphna emphasised the importance of considering the post-consumption lifespan of materials and the principles of a circular economy.

Versatile alternatives to plastic packaging

Rodrigo Gonzalez, Co-founder of Notpla, noted that innovation shouldn’t always seek to directly replicate the properties of plastic, but instead look for ways to find versatile alternatives. He spoke about his experiences creating a biodegradable, compostable and edible alternative to plastic made from seaweed, supplying these materials to large companies and delivery platforms, and scaling and diversifying the product line.